What I’m Thinking – April 27

This week, the news pundits have been examining the first 100 days of #45. One of the most challenging things about our new president, is the dramatic shifts in standards of communication, speeches and leadership. Without going into a detailed grievance, I’m instead going to celebrate excellent leadership when I see it.

When I was offered my new position, I was thrilled in that the artistic director of the Bel Canto Children’s Chorus is the kind of leader that focuses on the music, the children, and their learning. I’ve never once heard her say, “MY choir.” It’s always about “THE music.” I see the same thing in the leadership of the Bach Choir. It takes an incredible amount of humility and perseverance to lead a 100+ year old institution to continue it’s musical excellence with an all volunteer choir. The standards of both artistry and management are incredible.

I’m recalling all of the conductors I’ve had the honor of working with; and not all of them full of rainbows and unicorns. The ones that have taught me the most are the ones who put the fear of God into my preparation. (I’m talking about you, Bob). I may not have liked the stress, but I appreciate the bar is set high for a reason.

It’s exhausting work to bring together the kind of music we’re performing. The weather changing is doing a number on my reeds. My stomach bug isn’t helping. Many students are cramming in exams and final projects. Energy is low. Nerves are high.

But there are incredible moments in the pieces where things come together beautifully. It’s a demanding program for the performers and the listeners. I hope that people come to be with the music; and to simply observe what is happening. There’s a lot of magic to explore.

An orchestra is only as good as it’s weakest player. And a conductor of the highest artistic standards will not ignore things that can be improved. It is our duty as musicians to do our best service to music. I am grateful for the standards of our director to remind me of that.

The concerts this weekend are going to be out of this world.

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